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Condom Vending Machine At Rome High School

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March 15, 2010 City And People, News & Oddities No Comments

Amid national controversy, the Kepler scientific secondary school today became the first in the Italian education system to install condom vending machines for students. The machines, in the girls’ and boys’ toilets, will sell cut-price condoms just a few miles from the Vatican; the Kepler is in a lower-middle class district of Rome, just outside the city’s ancient walls.

The Vatican has gone to great lengths over the past decades to discourage the use of condoms even in HIV-ravaged African countries, remaining firm in its position that monogamous marriage is the only way to stay safe – morally and physically. It is no surprise then, that the Vatican would condemn this move by a High School in Rome, for “trivialising sexuality”.

But their concern is not shared by everyone. As blogger Perez Hilton puts it:

You’d think by now that people would realize that teenagers are going to experiment with sex no matter WHAT, so we might as well try to help them be safe and educated!!

And in that spirit, the Keplero high school vowed to go ahead with its experiment despite the criticism. While it’s a relative novelty for Italy, schools in many other European countries have installed the machines in hopes of curbing teen pregnancy and HIV.

Antonio Panaccione, the school headmaster, defends the decision:

This is not about stimulating the use of condoms or intercourse. On the contrary, it’s about prevention and education. The scandal is that we do it in Rome, because this is the city of the pope and therefore one can’t really talk about sex. They can talk about pedophilia, can’t they? To them this is a dogma: One must not talk about it, only do it — secretly!

What do you think – should there be condom vending machines in high schools? Is this a matter of deep concern to you, or evidence of great courage?

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